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Bible Commentaries
Joshua 11

Kretzmann's Popular Commentary of the BibleKretzmann's Commentary

Verses 1-15

The Second Alliance of Heathen Kings and their Defeat

v. 1. And it came to pass, when Jabin, king of Hazor, a city in the extreme northern part of Canaan, southeast of Tyre, had heard those things, the conquest of the entire southern part of Canaan, that he sent to Jobab, king of Madon, a city near the brook Kishon, and to the king of Shimron, and to the king of Achshaph,

v. 2. and to the kings that were on the north of the mountains, what was later the mountainous region of Naphtali, and of the plains south of Chinneroth, the wide part of the valley of Jordan, south of the Sea of Galilee, and in the valley, the strip bordering the Mediterranean Sea between Akko and Sidon, and in the borders of Dor on the west, a Phenician city south of Tyre, overlooking the sea, later occupied by Manassites,

v. 3. and to the Canaanite on the east and on the west, for their tribes occupied the lowlands, and to the Amorite, mainly in the mountain districts, and the Hittite, northwest of the Sea of Galileo, and the Perizzite, in the foothill country farther south, and the Jebusite in the mountains, the highlands of Judah, and to the Hivite under Hermon in the land of Mizpeh, in the far north, in the spurs of the Lebanon range. So the alliance included all the tribes from Mount Hermon to Mount Carmel, some of the mightiest being those of the Plain of Eadraelon.

v. 4. And they went out, they and all their hosts with them, much people, a mighty army, even as the sand that is upon the seashore in multitude, with horses and chariots very many.

v. 5. And when all these kings were met together, had joined their forces by definite appointment, they came and pitched together at the Waters of Merom, a small lake about three miles in diameter, north of the Sea of Galileo, hardly more than a swamp in the dry season, to fight against Israel. It was a strategically strong position, for the army shielded the important cities to the north and west, while it was ready to meet the army of Joshua with every prospect of victory.

v. 6. and the Lord said unto Joshua, Be not afraid because of them; for tomorrow about this time will I deliver them up all slain before Israel; thou shall hough, hamstring, their horses, and burn their chariots with fire. Evidently Joshua was already on his way to Northern Canaan when his scouts brought him the news of the enemy's strength, and the words of the Lord were intended to reassure him.

v. 7. So Joshua came, after one of his characteristic rapid marches, and all the people of war with him, against them, the heathen armies, by the Waters of Merom suddenly, in a surprise attack; and they fell upon them.

v. 8. And the Lord delivered them into the hand of Israel, who smote them, and chased them unto great Zidon, the ancient capital of Phenicia, and unto Misrephoth-maim, a place of springs at the foot of a steep precipice, over which a part of the enemy's army was forced, and, having dispersed the main body of their opponents, unto the Valley of Mizpeh eastward, into the foothills of the Lebanon toward the northeast; and they smote them until they left them none remaining.

v. 9. And Joshua did unto them as the Lord bade him: he houghed their horses, by severing the tendons of their hind legs, and burned their chariots with fire, whose bodies therefore were certainly of wood.

v. 10. And Joshua at that time turned back and took Hazor, whose king was the leader in the alliance, and smote the king thereof with the sword; for Hazor beforetime was the head of all these kingdoms, the chief city of the northern confederacy.

v. 11. And they, the Israelites, smote all the souls that were therein with the edge of the sword, utterly destroying them, as being under the ban of Jehovah; there was not any left to breathe. And he burned Hazor with fire, purposely dealing more harshly with this city than with the rest.

v. 12. And all the cities of those kings, who had been in the confederacy, and all the kings of them did Joshua take, and smote them with the edge of the sword; and he utterly destroyed them, as Moses, the servant of the Lord, commanded, Numbers 33:52; Deuteronomy 7:2.

v. 13. But as for the cities that stood still in their strength, every one on its height or hill, as the inland cities were usually built, Israel burned none of them, although it overthrew or destroyed them, save Hazor only; that did Joshua burn. These cities remained in their old locations, many of them rising out of their ruins to new splendor.

v. 14. And all the spoil of these cities and the cattle the children of Israel took for a prey unto themselves; but every man, all the human inhabitants, both young and old, they smote with the edge of the sword until they had destroyed them, neither left they any to breathe, Deuteronomy 20:16.

v. 15. As the Lord commanded Moses, His servant, so did Moses command Joshua, and so did Joshua; he left nothing undone of all that the Lord commanded Moses. If the children of God trust in Him with full obedience, the Lord gives them the victory over all their enemies.

Verses 16-23

The Conquest of Western Palestine

v. 16. So Joshua took all that land, the hills, the mountainous sections of Canaan proper, and all the south country, the great steppes of Judah, and all the land of Goshen, the foothills country toward the west, and the valley, the plains in the central and northwestern section, and the plain, probably that of Sharon, and the mountain of Israel, Ephraim, in the center of the land, and the valley of the same, its lowland on the west;

v. 17. even from the Mount Halak that goeth up to Seir, the smooth or bald mountain in the Azazimeh range in the south, whose chalk cliffs probably gave it the name, even unto Baal-gad, in the Valley of Lebanon, under Mount Hermon, in the extreme north; and all their kings he took, and smote them and slew them. Thus the entire campaign, lasting some seven years, is summarized.

v. 18. Joshua made war a long time with all these kings.

v. 19. There was not a city that made peace with the children of Israel save the Hivites, the inhabitants of Gibeon, Joshua 9:3-7; all other they, the children of Israel, took in battle.

v. 20. For it was of the Lord, it was His dispensation, to harden their hearts that they should come against Israel in battle, that He might destroy them utterly, and that they might have no favor, no compassionate sympathy from Him, but that He might destroy them, as the Lord commanded Moses, Deuteronomy 20:16-17. Theirs was an obduration, a hardening of heart, like that of Pharaoh, Exodus 4:21.

v. 21. And at that time, in the course of the conquest of the entire country, came Joshua and cut off the Anakim, the race of giants, Numbers 13:28 ff. from the mountains, from Hebron, from Debir, Joshua 10:36-38, from Anab, another city south of Hebron, and from all the mountains of Judah, and from all the mountains of Israel; Joshua destroyed them utterly with their cities. This account supplements that of the preceding chapter and shows that the giant race was by no means unconquerable, as the spies had reported on their return to the camp of Israel in Kadesh-barnea.

v. 22. There was none of the Anakim left in the land of the children of Israel; only in Gaza, in Gath, the city of Goliath, and in Ashdod, the city of the idol Dagon, these three being cities of Philistia, there remained.

v. 23. So Joshua took the whole land, according to all that the Lord said unto Moses; and Joshua gave it for an inheritance unto Israel according to their divisions by their tribes, as related in the subsequent account. And the land rested from war, not because all the Canaanites had been exterminated or even all their cities taken, but because their power was broken, their dominion a thing of the past, and Israel master of the entire land. The remnants of the heathen nations might easily have been conquered and annihilated, if Israel had but remained faithful to Jehovah, for with His help, in His power, everything is possible.

Bibliographical Information
Kretzmann, Paul E. Ph. D., D. D. "Commentary on Joshua 11". "Kretzmann's Popular Commentary". https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/kpc/joshua-11.html. 1921-23.
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